LIVE: Merrick Garland, You're The Next Contestant On 'What The Hell Is Going On Over There?'
Congressional hearings in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives are a dumb shitshow, as House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer searches for Hunter Biden's penis under the couch cushions, and as Jim Jordan's House McCarthyism Committee desperately tries to deceive America into thinking the Deep State has been weaponized to hurt Republicans' feelings and make sweet Donald Trump out to be some kind of criminal.
There are fun moments, of course, like yesterday, when a congressional witness exposed GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz literally reading Chinese propaganda about Ukraine into the record. Also yesterday, there was fresh-faced new Florida Democratic Rep. Jared Moskowitz, being just a really fun whippersnapper when he started making fun of the REAL tech censor, namely Donald Snowflake Trump crying to Disney and ABC because Jimmy Kimmel's jokes hurt his feelings. Oh yeah, and having Dan Goldman — who served as Democrats' counsel in Trump's first impeachment — in Congress has so far been an unfettered DELIGHT.
But today we are in the Senate, where things are controlled by Democrats and they are "sane." Attorney General Merrick Garland is testifying for the Senate Judiciary Committee, and we imagine the senators will have lots of things to say. Whatever Republicans say will be irrelevant batshit conspiracy theories, of course, but we imagine Democrats will have questions too, like perhaps "What the hell is going on over there at the Justice Department?" Donald Trump still hasn't faced accountability for inciting a terrorist attack against the United States to overturn the election, and for stealing and concealing classified and top secret documents, but the special counsel Garland appointed does seem to be moving quickly now. Of course, Garland also appointed a special counsel to stand at the Justice Department door and collect the classified documents Joe Biden accidentally retained and willingly has handed over.
Maybe Garland will have an important update on how both sides do it, and then maybe he and Chuck Todd can go out for a romantic dinner with the editors who directed the New York Times's coverage of the 2016 election.
Politico Playbook lists a few other things lawmakers might want to talk about. For instance, all the garbage Jim Jordan has been making up about the FBI and Justice Department sending innocent mommies and daddies to Gitmo just because they don't like critical race theory. Also that former FBI New York guy Charles McGonigal, who was just arrested for taking foreign bribes and violating sanctions when he went to work for Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska. Historian and Russia expert Timothy Snyder is pretty sure we've only begun to scratch the surface of what's going to come out about that guy.
Shall we liveblog this malarkey together? We shall.
10:04: The hearing has begun! Committee Chair Dick Durbin is talking about how Garland has appointed special counsels to look at the classified documents and hasn't interfered in investigations into Hunter Biden's penis or John Durham's silly clown investigation into whether there was a WITCH HUNT against Donald Trump.
10:07: The ranking member, of course, is Lindsey Graham. He says he is doing the war against fentanyl and the world is on fire. He also says we need to give Ukraine jets to fight against Putin. We are pretty sure that is the only serious thing he will say. But credit where it is due!
10:13: Now we'll have opening statement from Garland, and then the fun will get going.
10:20: Merrick Garland's opening statement was that the Justice Department is real good and it should feel good. Also that it seized enough fentanyl last year to kill every living American. That seems like a lot.
Now Dick Durbin begins his questioning.
10:26: The beginning of this hearing is all productive, it's weird. Durbin started with gun violence, then moved to holding manufacturers accountable for the distribution of fentanyl.
Now Graham takes over and asks if the Wagner Group in Russia should be considered a terrorist organization. (That's the mercenary group run by Yevgeny Prigozhin, the vicious oligarch known as "Putin's chef," that's terrorizing Ukraine.) Garland doesn't say yes or no, but didn't seem mad about the question.
Then Graham goes back to fentanyl.
10:31: And moves on to Gitmo, because Lindsey Graham is VERY CONCERNED that one day Gitmo might end up closed, and that would be THE WORST THING EVER.
"Do you believe Russia is committing crimes against humanity?" "I do."
Then he moves on again. Graham is going through all this at a clip, kind of phoning it in, generally acting like an adult, it's weird.
10:33: JUST KIDDIN'. Lindsey Graham gonna do some anti-trans hate-mongering now!
He is asking Garland about how many people are requesting to be moved from men's prisons to women's prisons. Graham wants to know if Garland is worried if "biological males" are sent to women's prison, will that put women in danger? You know, because Lindsey Graham is just so very concerned with the safety of women in prisons. Totally his thing.'
10:36: It is Sheldon Whitehouse's turn, and he wants to know about methane, it is riveting. By the way, Whitehouse has been going hard on the Charles McGonigal FBI New York question, so we imagine he'll get into that in a second.
10:44: Chuck Grassley wants to know about whistleblowers, you know, just in case the butter cow at the Iowa State Fair knew a secret about Hunter Biden. Because Chuck Grassley knows some Hunter Biden secrets about Hunter Biden, and the butter cow told him the secrets. ALLEGEDLY.
Garland says there's a US attorney looking into Hunter Biden's penis, STFU.
10:48: Chuck Grassley is EXTREME WORRIED that the US attorney in Delaware will not be allowed to prosecute Hunter Biden's penis.
10:49: GRASSLEY: Has the US attorney in Delaware asked anybody else to prosecute Hunter Biden's penis and was he DENIED by a Biden-appointed US attorney?
GRASSLEY: Butter cow.
We are kidding, Chuck Grassley did not say "butter cow" even once, that is just Wonkette being cruel to him for fun. He is a very serious senator.
\u201cAssume Chinese spy balloon dead (finally!!)\u201d— Chuck Grassley (@Chuck Grassley) 1675553995
Amy Klobuchar's turn!
11:00: You will be glad to know that the attorney general of the United States is sufficiently versed in Taylor Swift songs to say that he knows the state of antitrust law in America "All Too Well." He further reassures America that he is familiar with Taylor Swift in general.
Maybe if he indicts Donald Trump he can say '"LOOK WHAT YOU MADE ME DO.'
Anyway, John Cornyn, being a Republican, questions about "border."
11:04: Cornyn just doing that stupid Republican thing where all border problems started the second Joe Biden became president, that's the day the fentanyl started, it's ridiculous.
11:07: Cornyn is very worried that Garland might not be a huge fan of mandatory minimums. Garland is explaining what his actual stances are, but they're interfering with Cornyn's talking points.
11:09: And now Richard Blumenthal.
11:15: Merrick Garland just said "All Too Well" again, DRINK.
11:16: Blumenthal would like Garland to explain how FBI Director Christopher Wray is out on a limb being the only agency head who reallllllly thinks COVID-19 came from a lab leak. He did it without saying "Wray" or "FBI" or "COVID."
Anyway, Mike Lee then break.
He would like to whine about Americans protesting the Supreme Court's fascist abortion ruling, and why Garland isn't even locking people up for that.
11:23: Now Lee is whining that an anti-abortion creep named Mark Houck was indicted (and unfortunately acquitted) under the FACE Act for assaulting a 72-year-old volunteer at a Planned Parenthood. Because Lee doesn't think it should have been charged in the first place! Wah! Social conservative white fascists should get to do what they want! Wah!
Fucking troll. Anyway, now a quick recess.
11:37: And we are back with California Democratic Senator Alex Padilla, who begins his questioning on the subject of hate crimes.
11:43: Hooray, we've moved on to Ted Cruz, who is DEEPLY DISAPPOINTED that Merrick Garland has been so partisan.
Garland starts by telling Cruz to fuck off with his insinuations that the FBI/Justice Department is acting politically. Cruz says he hears from people who are mad that the FBI is the "enforcement arm of the DNC." Fuck off.
11:52: Cruz is doing his audition for Fox News tonight, bitching and moaning about people protesting at Supreme Court justices' homes after the vile Dobbs decision.
Garland explains, as he has already in this hearing, that when the Dobbs decision leaked, he ordered 70 US marshals to protect the justices. Cruz is mad that Garland won't prosecute people who protested the illegitimate Supreme Court's illegitimate decisions.
Ted Cruz changes the subject, because he's done yelling about that thing. He would now like to yell about (likely fake) terrorist groups attacking fake religious "crisis pregnancy centers" that only exist to lie to pregnant people and brainwash them against getting abortions. Also some more screaming grandstanding about the arrest of that loser Mark Houck.
Yell yell yell yell. We don't know how any witness listens to Ted Cruz without openly laughing. We just cannot imagine showing respect to that guy to his face. He is just such a fucking joke.
Time for a real senator, his name is Jon Ossoff.
11:56:This was just ridiculous. You'll love the part where Garland asks if he can answer the question and Cruz is like NO YOU CANNOT!
\u201cWe\u2019ve reached the \u201cyelling at Garland to get booked on Hannity\u201d part of the hearing\u201d— Acyn (@Acyn) 1677689511
12:02: Oh god, Josh Hawley's shit gonna be DUMB. "Does your department have an anti-Catholic bias?" Garland says no. Hawley wants to scream about that dumb fucking sad loser Mark Houck. (Did we mention the guy was acquitted?)
Republicans have this whole narrative about how they sent the SWAT team to arrest this sweet innocent man of Jesus. Garland keeps saying the FBI does not agree with Hawley's and Cruz's descriptions of the circumstances of that arrest.
Hawley is showing this picture of Houck and his family and having a fainting spell because the FBI went to arrest this white Christian man. Look at the picture! Hawley wants you to look at the picture! Look at those white people!
Now Hawley is screaming about how liberals love to use long guns against Catholics and children.
12:07: Now Josh Hawley is asking if Merrick Garland is sending spies into Catholic churches that do Latin masses.
HAWLEY: How many informants do you have in Catholic churches! How many!
And now we have Chris Coons, a real person.
12:17: Chris Coons was good and smart, whatever.
COTTON: Why did you do the border crisis?
Basically. That's what we're doing. He's rattling off murder rates in Central America and Mexico, and now in American cities.
Tom Cotton wants to know if citizens of dangerous cities in America should seek asylum in Honduras, where the murder rate is lower than it is in New Orleans.
Tom Cotton is mad people are seeking asylum just because they are unsafe in their own countries, and not because they are escaping religous persecution. (Tom Cotton doesn't know what the standards for asylum are.)
12:26: Mazie Hirono gives Garland credit for being very nice while her colleagues have badgered him. She then reads out statistics about actual terrorism committed by anti-abortion extremists across the decades.
HIRONO: That Dobbs ruling was really fucking shitty. What is the DOJ doing about it?
GARLAND: States can't do anything to stop people from traveling across state lines to get abortions.
HIRONO: These assholes are still trying to stop people from accessing abortion. This shithead federal judge in Texas is maybe probably about to overturn the FDA's approval of mifepristone, one of the safest and most commonly used abortion medications. Please make sure you do everything you can to make sure people keep access. THANKS.
12:31: GARLAND: We filed in the Texas case to overturn mifepristone. We are hopeful that will not be the result!
HIRONO: Oh they judge-shopped the fuck out of that shit, we know what's gonna happen.
Now she's asking if white supremacist terrorists pose a significant threat. Garland says yes they do, they are the most dangerous of the domestic extremists.
12:34: Now it is that thing from Louisiana, John Kennedy, and he is saying an expression about how kids should do their homework and their parents should love them and they should love their parents.
However, he is concerned that the Justice Department ordered all those parents into Gitmo just because they didn't want to be murdered by critical race theor and COVID vaccines.
Garland is trying to calmly explain that Kennedy is full of shit.
12:38: Republicans are just such clownfucking liars.
REPUBLICAN: You directed the FBI to investigate parents for being white.
GARLAND: I did not.
REPUBLICANS: So after you directed the FBI to investigate parents for being white ...
And of course because it's John Kennedy, it sounds like the lovechild of Foghorn Leghorn and the creepy old guy from "The Family Guy" is asking the questions.
12:47: We should be getting close to the end of the FIRST round of questioning. Cory Booker is questioning now, and also there is a Marsha Blackburn dumb fucking idiot to come.
12:52: Home economics major Marsha Blackburn says it's clear from Garland's answers that there is one kind of justice for conservatives and another for Washington liberal elites. She says people in all Tennessee's counties tell her this. (Not the counties where the people who keep the state running live.)
Garland says please tell the people in all of Tennessee's counties that there are not two tiers of justice. Marsha Blackburn will not be doing that because she's a clown and she's here to blabber anti-abortion lies and propaganda.
12:55: Here is some more Blackburn bullshit, translated out of wingnut:
BLACKBURN: Is it terrorism to fire-bomb fake clinics that lie to pregnant people for Jesus?
GARLAND; Yes, fire-bombing is terrorism.
BLACKBURN: Will you prosecute this Jane's Revenge group that all us right-wingers believe in but might not even be real?
GARLAND: If you have any information that suggests they are not fake?
BLACKBURN: Words words words words words!
Now it is at last time for new Senator Peter Welch of Vermont.
1:06: Peter Welch's questions were normal and probably productive, we don't know. Thom Tillis says he is Merrick Garland's "ticket to lunch," which means he is the last one before lunch. He asks Garland which "norms" he feels like are getting back to "normal." Garland says treating like cases alike, and working without the influence of the White House. Tillis suggests Garland should figure out a way to collect data on those things so he could show it to them.
Thom Tillis literally took time to whine that ActBlue has a donation page for some kind of 13.12 mile run that's called that because those numbers correspond to the letters of "ACAB," or "All Cops Are Bastards." He's asking the attorney general of the United States about this.
1:14: Oh, so we guess they are not going to lunch, they are just going to "10 minute recess." WE'LL SEE.
But anyway, Tillis is done.
1:41: Oh, it is back. We don't know if they are all going to go for fully seven more minutes a-piece. Chuck Grassley just said "words." Now Richard Blumenthal is going to say "words."
We will let you know next time "words" are interesting to us!
1:45: John Cornyn is talking some bibble babble whining that A SENATOR ON THE SENATE FLOOR!!! called right-wing anti-abortion zealot hack federal judge Matthew Kacsmaryk a right-wing anti-abortion zealot hack.
John Cornyn likes that judge! He likes illegitimate right-wing hacks!
Matthew Kacsmaryk is not only a right-wing anti-abortion zealot hack judge, he is also viciously anti-LGBTQ+.
Right now, a LUDICROUS case is in Kacsmaryk's Amarillo, Texas, courtroom, brought by a thrown-together consortium of right-wing anti-abortion activists, in order to overturn the FDA's longstanding approval for mifepristone, one of the main drugs used in medication abortions. There is no scientific basis for it to be overturned. They only filed it in Amarillo because they knew Kacsmaryk was enough of a craven hack to give them the ruling they wanted.
While we were typing, Mike Lee started bitching some more about people disrespecting the illegitimate partisan hack Supreme Court, wanking motion dot gif.
Oh and speaking of wanking motion dot gif, here is Ted Cruz, to bitch about leaks about indictments of Trump and Hunter Biden's penis or something, we do not know.
While we are on the subject of Ted Cruz, can we talk about how stupid-looking his beard is? He looks like a fucking furry.
And now some more Josh Hawley, who is apparently misrepresenting a Washington Post article and baselessly insinuating that Garland consorted with the White House on the decision to raid Donald Trump's trash palace.
They'll all get to play with their weeners on Fox News tonight.
2:02: TOM COTTON: Waaaah! Fox News audtion! Waaaaah! *shakes tailfeathers around in the traditional northwest Arkansas fashion*
MARSHA BLACKBURN: My Tennessee constituents say WAAAAAAAAH!
This is all so stupid. Democrats aren't even asking questions anymore, they're just letting Republicans jerk off.
2:05: Marsha Blackburn doesn't like Garland's answers so she's literally informing him what his answers are. She's so mad Garland doesn't know what the possibly imaginary Jane's Revenge is.
2:08: Lindsey Graham says Merrick Garland should get a Purple Heart for sitting in this hearing today. That is not what Purple Hearts are for.
Now he wants to do some more trans panic. He's mad Merrick Garland might try to stop fascist states from abusing transgender kids.
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